Group behind mayoral recall effort holds press conference

CHICO — After serving recall documents to Mayor Andrew Coolidge mid-meeting Tuesday night, the group calling itself Chico Voters held a press conference Wednesday to offer up additional information and answer questions on the matter.

The conference was held on the corner of Main and West Fifth streets in front of the fence surrounding the City Plaza and led by Chico Voters representative Morgan Kennedy.

Kennedy read from the statement issued after the papers were served and listed the reasoning behind the recall effort.

Only the mayor was served a recall notice which is of note considering the mayor is chosen and voted in by the council and not citizens.

“I would say that even though we have an at-large mayor system, meaning the fact that the City Council appoints the mayor, he still is the spokesperson for the city and that is really our city’s role for mayor,” Kennedy said.

Choosing to try and recall Coolidge only has created some controversy. Coolidge said his votes have typically been backed by a council majority.

“I just want to draw citizens’ attention to the fact that my votes have been mimicked by almost the entirety of the council so that shows you the real political nature of this,” Coolidge said. “That they are only targeting me rather than all the other members that have had the same votes on issues I had.”

Coolidge responded to the recall news with his own lengthy statement Tuesday night in which he said the recall could cost as much as $300,000 to the city if it goes through. Kennedy said the timeline for the recall is planned so that the recall vote will be connected to the June 2022 election and therefore will not require a special election and shouldn’t cost anything beyond typical election costs.

“Our mission with Chico Voters is that this will be on the June ballot,” Kennedy said. “We are a group that is concerned with fiscal responsibility and we do not want to cost the city of Chico any money.”

When asked whether the recall effort would be dropped if it isn’t complete in time for the June ballot, Kennedy said she couldn’t confirm that as of the press conference.

Coolidge represents Chico’s fifth district and was elected as such, said Butte County Elections Manager Keaton Denlay.

“Coolidge, even though he is the mayor, is a representative for District 5,” Denlay said. “Because he was elected by district, he would need to be recalled by those in the district and the election would happen in that district.”

This means the recall election would not be city-wide. Denlay said replacement candidates would also need to live in District 5.

Coolidge said he has been receiving calls from supporters backing him since the news broke of the recall.

“They obviously are trying to lead people down a path that’s not true,” Coolidge said. “The city is in the best financial shape it has been. We’re on our way to returning commercial flights to the Chico Airport, creating green energy savings programs and cementing our relationship with Chico State both from the public safety standpoint and community standpoint.”

The Chico City Clerk’s Office had not received the recall documents as of noon Wednesday.

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